KARACHI: One thought that after the terrible experience of the last few years’ monsoon season when Karachi’s streets were waterlogged, roads submerged in at least one metre of rainwater and electricity in most parts of the city went kaput for a number of hours, this year the authorities concerned (the provincial government, the KMC and KE, etc) would’ve made arrangements to ensure not to let citizens suffer the same plight.

Well, if wishes came true, Karachiites would have enjoyed Monday’s rain with uninterrupted supply of electricity and a regular commuting experience on the roads. Still, let’s make this clear from the outset: things were not as tormenting as they used to be.

It began to rain a little before 7am on Monday; in some areas, a bit after that. Initially, the drizzle was gentle and pleasant. But it did not take a long time for the phrase ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’ to spring to mind. In fact, that would have been more enjoyable because suddenly all the songs from Bollywood and Lollywood movies filmed on rain-drenched heroines and heroes (such as Rim jhim gire sawan from the film Manzil starring Amitabh Bachchan and Moushumi Chatterjee) became the order of the day. Unfortunately, that distinct happiness lasted for a few minutes. The first sign of the same old, forgettable monsoon experience was power outage in several parts of the Sindh capital the moment drizzle turned into downpour.

Again, as if one was witnessing on repeat, social media was abuzz with the complaint that there was no bijli from the morning.

To be honest and to be fair to service providing companies, one knows that the electricity cable network crisscrossed over large poles all over the city is a bit tenuous for upkeep. (Also, this summer there has hardly been any loadshedding in some areas, so kudos to KE.) And it is hard to keep track of every single network. But then that’s where expertise and gumption come in. Every year, people crib about the problem — and the monsoon is an annual occurrence. As Hamlet says, “the readiness is all.”

With regard to roads and streets, at least until late Monday afternoon, they were not flooded and the vehicular traffic, too, did not get affected to the extent where people were marooned in the middle of nowhere. Having said this, and witnessing the situation in Saddar and some other areas in Karachi, with the passage of time it all started to feel as if stepping out of the house or office would be an unwise idea. Once bitten, twice shy. Many times bitten…

One wonders, what’s the state of the much talked-about nullah-cleaning process? Is it over? How much of it is left? How much dividends have the already done work paid? The reason for raising these questions is that Monday’s rain appears to be the beginning of this year’s showery spell. If that’s the trailer for what’s to come, then citizens and the authorities must brace themselves for a tough time ahead.

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2021

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